Masks AP Resource

The whelmed podcast (located at the nigh-perfect url is basically “Buffering the Vampire Slayer,” but for Young Justice. I’ve just started in on the beginning of the show, and it’s great; if you like podcasts where pop culture love and gaming overlap and/or intersect, I recommend it.

But here’s an additional BONUS: the podcast crew recently recorded a session of Masks, GM’d by Brendan Conway (the game’s author), in which they play characters from the show in a scenario set in the five years between seasons 1 and 2 of YJ. The people playing these characters are note. perfect. in their portrayals (Kid Flash and Superboy are particular stand-outs), and Brendan does a fantastic job of introducing, integrating, and best-of-all explaining the rules as they go.

If you’re looking for an AP recording that works as a primer/introduction to the Masks rules, and want the added bonus of seeing the game presented via characters with which you’re probably already very familiar, I can’t recommend these recordings enough.

Update: There are also pre- and post-game talks with Brendan, which are pretty illuminating.



  1. The only thing thing where I'd really like to see the playbook-in-use is Kid Flash as the Beacon playbook. The moves work well (and the Drives… and even the core issues of the playbook if you squint a little bit), but the Abilities for the playbook… ? Ehh. Feels like you're really taking the Beacon and hacking into something different called "Born Hero" and … something something handwave.

    Still, between Conner, Kaldor, Robin, and KF, there's just not enough Legacy and Protege playbooks to go around, so you kind of have to do something to make it work.

    I mean, you could give KF the Doomed playbook, but that's just mean.

  2. One of the things I really like about Masks (in the abstract, reading it) is that the powers per se are secondary in importance. It's more about how you personally hero, and why, than whether you are a speedster or an alien clone or can shoot lightning bolts out of your eyes or etc.

  3. Yeah, that is absolutely the case. I KNOW, getting hung on this one bit, I'm actually focusing on the least important part of the playbook. 🙂 I also know it's totally 'legal' to just say "dude just play the Beacon and write in "super speed" as your thing." The only real concern/question to answer (as noted by the author in the "What About That One Power?") is "does this particular power interfere with the kind of story this playbook is meant to tell?"

    And if the answer is no, then go for it.

    On the face of it, superspeed might not seem like a good match for Beacon, but I can see it does work for the YJ-version of Wally West, because he's the 'least' of the speedsters, the first of the YJ crew to retire from full-time mask-wearing, and one who, of the lot, questions his abilities (he doesn't do it a lot, but he does it more than anyone else). It's not at all hard to see Wally as, Beacon-like, being driven by a love of the heroics and a desire to prove he's a 'real' Flash… even if I don't necessarily see him that way at first glance.

    (Aside from that, the whole thing hits that wall of trying to convert a non-game IP into gameable stats, of course. I'd have Robin as the Legacy, and Kaldor as the Protege, for example. And Miss Martian is really an Outsider in Season One, and eventually switched to The Nova playbook later, and…)

  4. I need to compare-and-contrast the Legacy and the Protege a bit more closely, but I get a lot of overlap feel between them. That said, Connor as either, with the Elder / Master (Superman) being in absentia is a really cool concept (as is the Master / Elder being a villain trying to corrupt the youth (Luthor)).

    I can see Connor also working as a Reformed, an Outsider, a Newborn, a Bull …).

    In a sense, that's why there's the opportunity to borrow from or change playbooks — it's not that the powers necessarily change (unless the story calls for it), but that the personality / conflict / drama changes.

  5. Exactly.

    Conner as a Bull is the very obvious, Season One choice. I think it's the right one, even.

    In the second season, could easily go Legacy. Protege is a hard fit, since the (few) times you see him and Clark together feels a lot less like a mentor relationship in S2, than it does brothers.

    Robin is an interesting one – probably the most challenging – because you can look at him from different angles and see multiple ways to express his issues. For me, I like him better as a Legacy, so that it's more about how he's going to express his role in the Bat-family, and less about how he is directly and indirectly like Batman. Certainly Robin (the new Robin) in Season Two is all about that Legacy thing, even more so. (In game terms, old Robin became a paragon of the city, renamed himself, and is now a mission-assigning NPC.)

    I will confess I like Robin as the Legacy because I like Kaldor as the Protege MORE. Partly Because he's the Leader for the team and it seems silly to have Robin with that Protege move.

    (In my head canon, Robin started off with the Protege playbook, realized he didn't like it about session 3, and talked Kaldor and the GM into letting him trade and rewrite him as the Legacy.)

    Also, the way Protege is written, Robin-v-Batman comes off with Robin missing some key Robin-ness, while (a) Robin as Legacy gives him all the key Robin bits and (b) Kaldor's abilities match up with the Protege set much better.

    So that's me focusing too much on the Ability sets again, but whatever. 🙂

    Young Justice works really well as an inspiration for Masks, but it's challenging to map it right to the game, simply because core concept for the original group for Season One was a pile of Legacies and/or Proteges, and you can't double up on playbooks. 🙂

    It does help to focus on the issues you want the character dealing with. Often, though not always, it solves the problem. 🙂

  6. I just have trouble making characters like that enjoyably work with the rest of a group – I don't mean in a gaming sense, but just … Aquaman in most shows just… disconnects from everyone else. The powers are either annoyingly specific, or they really aren't invested in what's going on anywhere that isn't home. Or both. Often both.

    Aquaman is like that one player in an Amber game who invests 30 points in a private Shadow, two days' hellride from the Castle.

    Kaldur gets around this by (a) having a much more portable powerset (tough, strong, and basically a water bender), and (b) his ultimate purpose is becoming Aquaman's eventual replacement in the JL, so Orin can stay at home and run Atlantis, so he's more 'into' the hero job.

  7. Not exactly? [1] The decker's totally into what's going on in game. It's more like the guy who is given the premise "X-men Academy game" and makes Tony Stark's protege, living in L.A.

    [1]: My difficulty integrating E'lir into the Star Wars sessions notwithstanding. :/

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